California Residents Legalized Recreational Cannabis Use…So What Now?

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With the dawn of a new leaf, there are many questions that are being asked that need to be taken into consideration with Proposition 64 being passed.

While many California residents are asking about the law itself and what you can and can’t do, Californians need to be asking other questions that are imperative to the other issues that come with this.

1. How does this affect (new) recreational and (existing) medical patients?

For the medical cannabis patients, medications will stay tax exempt. For the recreation cannabis user, it’s a bit more complicated. With the passing of prop 64, four government agencies will become involved with the regulation of cannabis being sold. These four agencies are The Department of Transportation, The U.S. Food and Agriculture Department, The Local Public Health Department, and formation of the Marijuana Control Board (to be established between now and 2018). In addition, recreational users over the age of 21 will be taxed 15% on their purchased.

2. How does this change things economically?

20161201_131656For the State of California, it may help to boost tax revenue to government programs in similar fashion to Colorado and Oregon. That said, with on-boarding the previously mentioned agencies, the government can in turn can require permits and licenses to be obtained at a high price which in turn may cause a decrease in operations and inhibit small business growth. It is also important to note that the federal government holds the current patent on medical cannabis which threatens local medical cannabis dispensaries by means of big pharmaceutical companies buying out the patents and monopolizing the markets

3. How can we prevent the government from restricting and regulating our medicine?

Prop 64 allows for recreational cannabis users to grow up to 6 plants in their home or on their private residence. This is essential that we as citizens retain the right to grow and cultivate our own crops – like that of a personal vegetable garden. The analogy, while simple, is equated to buying food from a local produce stand or farmers market. Most of these foods in contrast to those found in the supermarkets are generally more wholesome in their nutritional content due to using better soil and natural composts to procure better crops. Equating over to cannabis, if we retain the right to our own medicine, the government and ‘big pharma’ won’t be able to further take a hold of the industry.

As Californians, we must be aware of the day to day changes that happen from here forward. By protecting our rights and increasing awareness about the medicinal benefits that treat a variety of illnesses, we can hope to change the way society and the government views the community. In turn, we as a community can hope to make forward progress for a cause worth fighting for.

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About Author

Dominic Ventura

Dom Ventura is a student author at Antioch University, studying his B.A. in psychology/communication. A co-founder of a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization for the Santa Barbara area, he has worked locally in the medical field for 10 years in a variety of settings including: emergency medicine, allied health, and urgent care. He hopes to complete his Paramedic degree & licensure from UCLA Center for Prehospital Care, and continue on to University of Arizona for his Masters in Public Health.

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